GWMHL

Playoff races take shape heading into final quarter

In News on February 23, 2020 at 7:50 pm

With three-quarters of a season behind us and just 18 games left to play, the playoff races are heating up in both GWMHL conferences. A quiet mid-season trade deadline saw few moves, mostly from teams out of the playoff picture, but some contenders might wish they’d swung a deal or two now that the playoff picture is looking tight.

In the Plante Conference

With Parry Sound, El Dorado, and Salem all but inked in for the postseason in some order or another — El Dorado seized 1st this quarter — Baltimore was just two points back of Pittsburgh heading into Q3. And while the Crab’s record was mediocre (13-10-1), Pittsburgh’s was worse (11-12-1), giving Baltimore the fourth playoff berth for now. The Hornets are just two points back, though. Should be a nailbiter.

In the Sawchuk Conference

Boston’s road dominance continued in Q3 (8-2-2) and they kept their stranglehold on 1st. The big riser was Vancouver — the Night Train had a very strong quarter, going 9-1-2 on the road and leapfrogging not just Ice Harbor but Delta as well for 3rd place behind Adirondack. Delta only trails by a point and will likely make up that ground in Q4, but it leaves the Storm 7 points back and in need of a stellar Q4 to steal the final playoff spot.

San Jose’s stars leading the way

Although they’re all but out of the playoff picture, San Jose’s top forwards are dominating the individual categories. John Tavares and Steven Stamkos are 1st and 2nd in scoring with 93 and 92 points respectively, just ahead of Ice Harbor’s Sasha Barkov (91), fellow Hoser Gabriel Landeskog (90), and Parry Sound’s Connor McDavid (90). Tavares (46), Denver’s Cam Atkinson (45), El Dorado’s Alex Ovechkin (44) all seem poised to join the 50-goal club. Boston’s Mark Giordano (65) has a 9-point lead over Denver’s Keith Yandle (56) for the defenseman scoring crown, while South Side’s Brady Tkachuk still leads the rookie race with 49 points. Boston’s Ben Bishop leads all netminders in wins with 27, and is 1st in GAA (2.50) and 2nd in save percentage (.919).

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